SAG Awards nominee profile: Sterling K. Brown (‘This Is Us’) scores 5th straight bid and aims for 2nd individual win

Sterling K. Brown extended his SAG Award nominations streak to five this year, notching yet another bid for his performance as Randall Pearson in NBC’s “This Is Us.” He now joins an exclusive group of stars with five SAG nominations for best drama actor for playing the same character, also including Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”), Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) and Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”). Could Brown’s continued popularity result in another SAG win this year?

Brown’s competition at the SAG Awards are Jason Bateman (“Ozark”), Josh O’Connor (“The Crown“), Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) and Regé-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”). That group includes two other beloved SAG favorites with Bateman now at 10 nominations and one win (for “Ozark” in 2019), while Odenkirk has nine bids with one win (as part of the “Breaking Bad” cast in 2014). The two newer stars in the race are O’Connor, who won with “The Crown” cast last year and is nominated again with the ensemble on top of his individual bid in this category, and Page with his first two SAG nominations for his own performance and with the cast of “Bridgerton.”

But Brown is the winningest actor in this group, collecting four SAG trophies from eight previous nominations. He won a statuette for his “This is Us” performance in 2018 in addition to ensemble wins for the show in 2018 and 2019, plus a film win with the “Black Panther” ensemble in 2019. He has never missed an individual nomination for “This Is Us” since the show has been on the air, and he also picked up a bid in 2017 for his breakthrough role in “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

It is noteworthy that Brown has stuck around with individual SAG nominations despite “This Is Us” not being nominated for its ensemble since its win in 2019. Indeed, he continues to receive some of the best material of the “This Is Us” cast, especially in 2020, which this nomination is honoring. In the latter half of season four, Randall confronted his issues with anxiety by seeking therapy and learning to accept his past. Then in the first half of season five, he learned more about his biological mother and had a spiritual rebirth. Through it all, Brown maintains a level of gravitas that resonates. So it is possible that the sheer amount of respect for him in the industry could net a surprise fifth win for the actor.

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “SAG Awards nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2021 contenders in film and TV.

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